Unfortunately, economic downturns create an opening for scammers. Par exemple, there are already warnings about student loan forgiveness scams popping up. In this episode, I predict that, as we see more people treading into the insane waters of coaching, we will also see more con artists trying to take advantage of the desperate.
As always: this is not advice! This is me opining for your entertainment only.
✔️ On June 30th, I predicted: "I would also not be surprised to see an influx of HR/staffing/recruiting folks turning to 'coaching' without understanding how saturated that market already is and how insane the industry can be." Every day on LI, I see exactly that happening.
✔️ There are so many people trying to make a go of the coaching world that a variety of weird little cottage industries have sprung up around it. IMO, we will see even more of it.
✔️ I personally would be very wary of spending money I don't have. I would also be wary of anything that seems too good to be true.
✔️ Jean Anouilh said, "What you get free costs too much." Touché. Sometimes what you give for free also costs too much.
Link I mention in this episode:
Alarm sound effect courtesy of Pixabay.
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Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. And now, here's your host Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. In today's episode, I have a prediction alert. Back on June 30, I predicted that I would not be surprised to see an influx of HR staffing and recruiting people turning to the coaching industry without understanding how saturated that market is already, and how absolutely insane it can be. Here we are. Every day on LinkedIn, I see somebody new in that arena, setting out a shingle calling themselves a coach, whatever form that may take interview coaching, interview, prep, coaching, resume writing coach, Career Coach, job coach, midlife crisis, I need a new career coach, a rabbit and a hat with a bat and a six more Impala. Remember that song. So whatever form it takes, I have seen an influx of these people coming into the coaching world. Now, I want to make another prediction. And I take no pleasure in making this prediction. But I really believe this is what we're going to see, we will see more rip off artists. As always, full disclaimer, this is not advice. This is strictly me opining for your entertainment only. Now in addition to the fact that there are already tons of coaches in this world. And they all have their own specialized niche. In addition to that, there are all of these little cottage industries that have sprung up around the coaching industry itself. And just to be emphatically clear, I am not saying that anyone and everyone within these little cottage industries is automatically some kind of con artist or some kind of shark. I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is that in a lot of these industries, the barriers of entry are very low, or they're non existent altogether. I mean, for goodness sakes, there are already student loan forgiveness scams popping up. The announcement wasn't even made all that long ago. And already, the con artists are just waiting to try to take advantage of somebody, it happens so fast. And when we're talking about things that are going on internationally, a lot of these people are never brought to justice, they rip people off, and then they just vanish into nowhere and nothing is ever really done. Unfortunately, I believe we will see the same thing playing out as we get further into whatever this economic poopoo storm is I don't know exactly what it is. But whatever kind of downturn or contraction we are headed into. As we see more people turning to freelance work, we see more people turning to quote coaching gigs, I believe we will also see more industries popping up that deal with somehow coaching the coach or somehow helping the coach. And not all of the individuals within that are going to be honest people. So sorry, to burst your bubble. Sorry to sound like an ER, I'm really putting this out as a word of warning. And a word of caution, not advice. Just if it were me, one thing that would be very important is to not spend money that I don't actually have been there done that. And it really sucks. Debt is like trouble. It's easy to get into and hard to get out of. And I put my trust in certain individuals during my first iteration of business, who really didn't do jack squat for me. Some people did. But when you look at the cost benefit analysis or the return on investment, I paid this individual X amount of dollars and I broke even I paid this individual X amount of dollars and I still wound up losing 10 or 20% of my investment. So in the long run, was it worth it? No, unfortunately not. Now, some people were honest. Some people did try and some people did do a good job. And they did whatever it was that they were engaged with me to do. So as I said, I'm not trying to paint everybody with the same brush. Oh, everybody's a con artist. Everybody in these little cottage industries is some fraudster that's after your money. No, that's not true. In my opinion, it is wise to use Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. Do your research. Before you engage with someone determine is this somebody that I actually want to be working with? Do they have any kind of pedigree at all? Right? Are they sending me emails that are littered with typos? Whenever Dr. Phil does those expos A's about cat phishing scams, he always talks about how the cat fishers themselves say we deliberately send out messages with spelling errors, poor grammar, sometimes we write things that really don't even make any sense. And we're doing it on purpose. We want to determine how gullible the mark is. So if you're getting those types of emails, or communications from somebody, is that legit mean is that how a legitimate professional business person chooses to engage with their clients or chooses to do business development? Maybe it is, but I would definitely hold back, I would be given pause. If I was getting information from somebody that was littered with typos, there wasn't anything behind it, then they're sending you to a website that doesn't exist or they're launching off information about some business that is apparently nowhere on planet Earth. use good judgment in the same way that I would not gamble money that I didn't have. Because Been there done that I would also be wary of anything that sounds too good to be true. And I firmly put these people have I'm going to make you an overnight success. I'm going to make you an overnight sensation into that bucket. Am I saying that everyone in that category is a con artist? No, I'm not some of those people may be sincere. And you know what, maybe they have stumbled on a formula that I am not aware of. That could be I myself have not ever witnessed an overnight success. Or some some miraculous something that happened. Within just a matter of hours, someone went from being an absolute nobody to being a somebody with bazillions of dollars. You can argue the opposite. With viral videos, someone can post a tick tock or Snapchat or whatever. And all of a sudden, everybody knows who they are. And everybody's watching their content, does it last? The news cycle moves so fast these days that somebody who has a viral video on Monday could be completely forgotten by the American public by Wednesday, they're already on to the next big thing. Oh, that was so Monday. Now it's Wednesday guy, I don't care about that person anymore. I have also firsthand, I am not going to use any names. I'm going to have to be necessarily vague. But I am not being anecdotal. When I say this, I have witnessed firsthand individuals who I knew that got a little bit of notoriety that got some good press or they had a video that went viral. They were mentioned on huge news platforms. And they thought that that was going to be enough to launch them into the stratosphere. And when the dust settled, they had nothing to show for it. They made no money they launched no businesses are they tried to launch a business based on one viral post or one viral video. And they found just how fickle the public is and how quickly they forget. They forget to remember you and they they've already moved on to the next shiny toy. I understand you're probably sitting there thinking this sounds awful II or view. I'm not trying to be an ER or gloom and doom or my hope is that, again, I can't give you advice. But my hope is that nobody spends money they don't have on sharks and charlatans because I have. I have and I know it sucks. God it sucks. There was a person again, I'm gonna have to be necessarily vague that I worked with during my first iteration of self employment with the business that failed. And this person was full of hype. And in hindsight, I should have used better Caveat emptor. But I just I wanted hope I wanted hope so bad and this person gave me hope. When I was on the intake call, this person gave me hope and I thought this is it. This is either going to be the thing that works. Or I'm going to finally quit I'm going to roll up the sidewalks on this business and quit. So I gave this person a few $1,000 Which I didn't have by the way. It all went on a high interest credit card that I had not touched and I had not touched that credit card when I was doing my credit card roulette you know is discover gonna work is it gonna be this one is gonna be that one pick a card, any card. Let's see if I could buy groceries this week. When I was doing that I had not touched this particular card because it had a high loan Sharky interest rate on it and I thought, Okay, go bigger go home. This person says they can help you, they say that they are, they are the balm to this wound, they're going to really turn it around for you and the person sounded in earnest. And I think that person may have truly believe their own hype, they may have been sincere in that moment, I don't know. But I made not a single dime off of that person's program. And every time that I would have to make the payment on that high interest credit card, I was just filled with bile. I was so mad, I was mad at the person who I felt in my opinion, had over promised and under delivered, and I was mad at myself, I was so upset. And when I made the last payment, on that high interest credit card, and it was dunzo, I felt so much relief, I actually ran a bubble bath and got a glass of wine and just had like a little self care night to celebrate getting rid of that particular round of debt, because it just made me so mad. Like I said, I was I was mad at the person that I felt like, did not deliver. And I was mad at myself for buying into it. I don't want any of you listening to be that person playing credit card roulette, gambling with money that you don't have, that's a dangerous proposition. Listening to some hype beast that's on the internet or on the phone with you or wherever saying I can make you an overnight sensation. Your program is awesome, except you don't have a large enough audience, all we've got to do is get your message out in front of more people, and you're definitely going to have more buyers, maybe, maybe not. There's no guarantee that just because you launch on social media that hundreds or 1000s of people are going to see it. I'm so sad to tell you this, but we don't live in the age of if you build it, they will come. Maybe in the early early days of the Internet, when everything was still a novelty. That might have been true. But look at how saturated everything is. I started this podcast, I think back in 2020. And then it's taken me some real time of consistent content to get a regular base of listeners build up people who actively engage with my content and truly enjoy it. It did not happen overnight. And there were times when I would be like am I publishing a podcast for nobody. Podcasting is not a guarantee of success. Everybody in their dogs, uncles, brothers wife's cousins, mother in law has a podcast now. Just because you do it doesn't mean people are going to listen some of the podcasts Oh my god. So I get I'll pull the curtain back for you. I get requests all the time. Here's I'm gonna another something that nobody tells you when you do become a successful podcaster. You get invitations all the time from people you've never heard of. And some of them are coming from like virtual assistants or, like, what would you call them publicity type firms pitching someone as a podcast guest I get those all the time, I finally just had to set up an email filter, like if certain words are contained in the email just automatically archive it because no, just no. I'm very picky. In the same way that I'm very picky about who I will work with as a coaching client for what length of time with what goals in mind, etc. Same thing with podcasting, I'm not gonna have just any Tom, Dick and Harry on the show. When I first started out, I enjoyed having a me plus a guest format, I felt very comfortable in that space. But I hit this weird snag where it became more and more difficult for me and the proposed guests to sync up schedules. I remember there was one woman who told me I'm so busy that the only time I could record with you would be 4am Eastern time. Well, I'm on central time here in the Midwest. So that would have been 3am for me, and I'm like, okay, so I have the choice of either going to sleep waking up trying to be coherent enough to do a decent episode with this person, or just not going to sleep that night until after the episode was recorded. So I have to drink a lot of coffee. And like, you know, prod my eyes open like in A Clockwork Orange to try not to go to sleep and I thought that's absurd. There's there's no body maybe with very few exceptions. There's really nobody that I want on the show badly enough that I would drink a whole bunch of energy, energy drinks or coffee and stay up till three in the morning to have them on. It's like you either want to be on or you don't. But I get tons of those pitches. So I feel like that's another industry that has popped up around coaching and consulting is little hire me and I will pitch you all over God's greener to these different podcasters and I'm like junk mail. Delete, spam, unsubscribe, just because you hire somebody To do that for you does not mean that they are going to be successful. It doesn't mean they won't be, I would encourage you, not from a perspective of giving you advice simply for your entertainment only, I would encourage you to do a cost benefit analysis on that is it worth it for me to hire John Doe to promote me and do these carpet bomb emails to everybody that owns a podcast to see if I can get on. And then if you get on, there's no guarantee that enough people will listen to it, there's no guarantee that they will convert into actual paying clients. I'm pointing to my my temple here use use the noggin think things through don't get caught up in hype and emotion. So some of these little cottage industries include coaches who coach coaches, virtual assistants, people offering to hype you up on social media people offering to do your back office tasks, people offering to do your marketing people offering to do your sales, copy, etc. As I said earlier, I am not in any way shape or form saying or implying that everyone in those categories is a con. Not at all, there are some very sharp, decent, wonderful human beings in those cottage industries. What I personally want to look out for is separating the wheat from the chaff, figuring out who is legit, who can really be of help to me and is charging a reasonable price for their services, versus somebody who's just strictly a con, they're going to get my credit card information, charge me and then skip town and I never hear from them again, who's going to over promise and under deliver. Debt is easy to get into and hard to get out of. And when you have the Fed consistently bumping up interest rates, that impacts what you're going to pay on your credit cards and will also impact whatever you can, whatever interest rate you can get on loans, if you can qualify for loans. So do you want to go and take out a business loan to hire somebody that's in one of these cottage industries and hope it works out? Maybe you do? Maybe that's the direction you opt to go in? Me personally, I would be extremely careful about doing that. Because if it doesn't work out, what's the recourse? If it doesn't work out? How long will it take you to pay that money back? If it doesn't work out? Are you in danger of losing your house or having the car repossessed? Are you in danger of not being able to feed your family? When we get into that root chakra Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs bare minimum food, clothing, water shelter? Do you want to put those things at risk? In order to work with somebody who claims they're gonna blow you up overnight on social media? I personally would not. I personally would also be careful of just giving the whole candy shop away for free. I'm able to speak from firsthand experience on that. There is I'm not going to say common wisdom may be a prevailing line of thought that in order to get more people attention is supposedly the new currency. Okay, well, I'll give you that. In order to get more people paying attention to you going into your sales funnel, presumably just give the whole store away. And then people will engage with the content and somehow, as if by magic, doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo as if by magic. They will get into your sales funnel and give you money. Sometimes yes, oftentimes, no, I would be careful. If it were me. I would be careful about just pushing out wads and wads and wads and wads and wads of free contact or free value, and then hoping somehow that's going to convert into actual paying customers. Now, I'm sure there experts out there legitimate experts, not con artists, but legitimate experts who can tell you how to get from point A to point B to point C, here's how you start with the free content. Here's how you monetize it. Here's how you get people into your funnel. I'm sure that there are. However, I have also had some negative experiences with giving too much away for free. Not making a dime of money not converting any actual clients from it being like dammit, that time would have been better spent on a project that time would have been better spent actually having billable hours and getting some money in the door instead of pushing out free content and then hoping as if by magic, people would automatically buy something from me. There's a great John and we quote what you get for free cost too much to che maybe you've heard before if you're getting a lot of information or content for free, guess what? You're the product and oftentimes on social media. That's true. They're they're collecting data and learning everything about you. It's free, but not really So I agree with that. But what I would add to it is that sometimes what you give for free also costs too much. I recently made a difficult decision, it was not something that I came to lightly believe me, when I recently made the difficult decision to stop offering educational courses free of charge, it had reached that threshold of what I am giving away for free, cost too much. I'm reminded of the entrepreneur Dan Locke saying, sometimes in life, no good deed goes unpunished, he would talk about how he had individuals coming to him saying, I cannot afford to pay your fee. But I still want to work with you, I will do anything if you will mentor me and tutor me in the ways of business for free. Whatever it takes, I'm there, whatever homework assignments, whatever you need me to do. And whatever time you asked me to show up, Consider it done. I am there. And then they dropped out. They wouldn't want to do their homework whenever times got tough. And they were asked to do something difficult. It was like, Well, I mean, no, I changed my mind. They didn't have any skin in the game. No money had changed hands they had gone to Dan begged for free help, he gave it to them. And then they didn't want it. Sometimes what you give away cost too much, because like in Dan's situation, when what if he had been working with a client and had been getting billable hours, I am a proponent when you want to do volunteer work and charity work. Now this is just my opinion. And I could be wrong. But in my opinion, I'm a big proponent of doing that type of work, that you're that you're offering pro bono through some kind of structured organization or platform. It at least theoretically, in my mind protects you a bit better than trying to engage one on one with somebody and mentor them for free with no protection, no ability to bow out if you no longer have time, no ability to structure your schedule, how you want it within the platform. So I'm never going to tell you don't do charity work don't do pro bono. I myself, personally, I'm just more a fan of doing that through a structured organization where there are rules of engagement. And there are certain levels of protection for both the person doing the mentoring, and the mentees who are being mentored, I personally would not want to just go out on my own and help some random person and then hope it worked out. I would rather do it through the auspices of an organization or some kind of structured nonprofit charity. And Dan's example is just but one, no good deed goes unpunished. This person said they were going to show up, they said they were going to be here, and now they're not. And they just don't really seem to be very invested. I found that I'm not going to name the platform when I'm sure we all kind of know what it is. But I had been offering free courses on a particular platform. And as time went on, it just seemed like I was getting in more Ned the NiNis and Nancy the nitpickers. And I'm like, this is free, you haven't paid anything for it. You know, I took time out of my own leisure time, not time when I was working on something for a client or I was getting paid on something else, but time out of my own leisure time, my own free time, my own family time to Record and put together this course content to help other people. And I started to get well, I didn't like the audio quality. I couldn't hear very well. I don't know why you didn't include role playing. I don't know why you didn't do this. I don't know why it's not a shorter course. I don't know why it's not longer. And I'm like it's free. What do you have to complain about when you are being given really awesome information for free, but people will do it. And I just thought about John Anhui what you get for free cost too much? Well, sometimes what you give for free cost too much. So I personally would be very, very careful about any of these individuals that are saying just put everything out the old kit and caboodle give the whole store away for free. And then somehow as if by magic that will automatically convert into paying customers, people are just going to love everything that you put out. They're gonna be so appreciative for it, they will be knocking your door down to work with you if they enjoy your content. No, not necessarily. Are there experts out there who can probably teach you how to do that? I'm sure there are I myself would be really, really careful. I hope I'm wrong about some of these things. I just I fear that I'm not in the same way that I predicted. We're going to see more people turning into the Freelancer gig economy not necessarily because they want to but because they have to. Here we are more people turning to coaching, who have been laid off from HR or TA departments. Here we are. What I see coming next are the bottom feeders and opportunists that want to try to rip off the desperate someone gets into a coaching practice. They realize holy poop I really You can't make a living doing this and I thought I'd be able to, oh, well, look, I see that you're desperate. Allow me to offer you a solution. Now it's going to be $20,000. And there's no way for you to get your money back if it all goes straight to hell. But go ahead and give me that sweet sweet moolah. Be careful out there, I can't I cannot give you advice, I cannot tell you what to do. If it were me, I would really really, really want to use good judgment. Good caveat. mTOR. And I would also be very careful about giving away too much for free. If I were in a situation where I can keep my day job and do my testing and beta testing while I still have salary and benefits. While I was able to put a put a toe in the water and then a foot and then my ankle and then my knee not just jumping into the pool willy nilly and hoped I could swim but really just take my time with it. That is what I personally would choose to do. I would also be really careful about spending money I didn't have knowing that debt is really difficult to get out of and also knowing that interest rates are getting higher and higher. So credit card debt will therefore be even more difficult to get out of in the coming years. I would just really, really be careful. I would be so careful about spinning money. I didn't have taking wild Gamble's listening to somebody who was giving me a line of bull that sounded too good to be true. Can't tell you what to do. In the meantime, just going to keep my fingers crossed and say a prayer that everybody out there stay safe, stay sane, and exercise is good judgment. I'll see you in the next episode. We hope you enjoyed today's episode. If you haven't already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We'll see you next time.